CHCI Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month & College-Readiness at R2L D.C.

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As part of its Hispanic Heritage Month events, CHCI hosted its first Ready to Lead (R2L) event of the academic year in Washington, D.C. Nearly 200 students gathered at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Monday, September 30, eager to gain college-going knowledge. Students representing 24 area high schools were welcomed by CHCI President & CEO Esther Aguilera who challenged students to dream and believe in themselves.

The program included student workshops highlighting R2L’s three main focus areas in the college-going process: College Planning, Financial Literacy, and Leadership Development. Jessica Ortiz Torres, academic advisor at American University’s School of Communication, facilitated an informational presentation based on three easy-to-follow steps students can use as they prepare a plan to apply to college. Will Trujillo, regional bank examiner at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City – Denver Branch, engaged students in a fun and interactive session about the many benefits associated with being smart financial planners, especially when it comes to financing a college education. Amilcar Guzman, vice president of CHCI’s Alumni Association, guided students through CHCI’s Four Pillars of Leadership and helped students assess their personal leadership capabilities. Students also learned about creating a positive online presence during the AT&T Digital Footprint workshop facilitated by Irving Burbano, social media coordinator for U.S. Congressman George Miller.

Throughout the event, R2L D.C. participants connected with other community leaders and CHCI supporters. Fernando Febres, multicultural marketing planner with General Mills, Inc. and Xavier Romaní, senior manager with Viacom International Media Networks, kicked off the Mentoring Power Hour session and welcomed more than 45 professionals and college students. Mentors provided valuable guidance and insight to help students develop smart, sensible college-going and career plans. Additionally, mentors represented more than 40 businesses, higher education institutions, government agencies, and community based organizations, including: AT&T, CHCI Alumni Association, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Georgetown University, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc., the NALEO Educational Fund, the U.S. Department of State, and many more. Students also had the opportunity to learn more about Tr3s’ Agentes de Cambio initiative during the luncheon, which highlights Latinos involved in socially-conscious efforts across the country.

The program closed with a powerful keynote address by CHCI alumnus Raul Magdaleno who moved the entire room with his personal story of struggle and eventual triumph. Magdaleno asked students to never quit and give up on themselves, and reminded them that the success of the Latino community is a shared responsibility, telling students, “We need to tell each other that if you made it, we all made it; if you make it, I make it!”

This year’s event was made possible through the support of our generous sponsors State Farm, AT&T, Synopsys, Univision, Box Tops for Education, and Viacom/Tr3s. CHCI is proud to continue educating, motivating, and empowering Latino youth in the Greater D.C. Area.

This year’s Ready to Lead D.C. event was made possible thanks to the generous support of State Farm, AT&T, Synopsys, Univision, Box Tops for Education, and Viacom/Tr3s.

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